While working "on the ground" in the riding, we had come across several such stories, and have also seen a dearth of Grewal lawnsigns... really signifying a ground-swell change in support. Ms. Grewal was recently booed off the stage at a major South Asian function because of her refusal to work with the community to ask Mr. Harper and the Conservatives for an apology in Parliament for the Komagata Maru incident (a major issue with South Asian voters). Harper's "Multi-culturalism" Minister (Jason Kenney) actually indicated that there would be no apology in the house...
Here's the full story from "Surrey Now" - a Canada.com paper:
Friday, October 10, 2008
A member of Conservative Nina Grewal's Fleetwood-Port Kells riding association executive has defected to the Liberals.
Gurtej Gill showed up at Liberal Brenda Locke's campaign headquarters Friday morning to tell reporters he is disillusioned by Grewal and Conservative Party leader Stephen Harper.
"People are saying she is doing nothing in Ottawa. She should have been very active and be the voice of Fleetwood-Port Kells and she has failed," Gill said.
"Brenda Locke is the right choice, the right voice."
When the story of Gill's defection hit the air on South Asian radio stations Friday, calls started coming in alleging the move was a scam. Callers claimed Gill was a Liberal Party member during the last federal election in 2006, but a check with the party's B.C. headquarters turned up no record of him being a member then.
Gill, who holds several university degrees, said he joined the Conservative Party three years ago and became a member of a multicultural committee that passed along concerns of the local ethnic community to the party leadership.
"They promised things to the community and that never happened. I and my friends sent an email expressing some concerns. Instead of addressing those concerns, we got email asking for funds."
Gill also said the day after this election was called, he was briefly hospitalized with heart trouble. After he got home, he said, no one from the Grewal campaign called to consult him on the election or to ask how he was.
"Even before that I felt isolated. I thought this party would be inclusive. It is not. There is not a link between the party and the people."
Gill said "a lot" of people will follow him to Locke's camp, something Grewal's campaign manager laughed off.
"Much ado about nothing," said Dane Minor.
"I think this was a set-up. I think he joined us to leave us. We got word this was happening and we checked with every member of our executive and they're all solidly behind Nina."
Minor said he only learned last week that Gill had been ill.
"He talked to me after he got out. Until then, I didn't know he'd been in the hospital. That's when I found out why he hadn't been helping with the campaign for four weeks."
Grewal beat Locke in the 2006 federal election by a scant 828 votes. Locke said Gill's move could swing the balance in her favour this time.
"The public is just beginning to become engaged in the election in the last week or so. This is very important," Locke said.
"Will he take a lot of people over with him? No. As a matter of fact, we think nobody."